Week 3 – Mindset

This week has been an extremely busy week for me. Everything seemed to come all at once. It does’t help that my timetable this year is pretty heavy and my free lessons are not the best placed. I started the week with 2 free lessons on Monday morning, I then didn’t get my next free until P3 on Friday. In between I had 2 assemblies, 3 lunch time clubs, a netball fixture, an after school club and a parents evening. That’s not including 3 evening training sessions and one evening of assembly planning and BTEC research. So as you can understand I was pretty busy and I am thankful for a day off today.

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What I would like to focus on this week is Mindset. I am head of the Challenger house at school. This requires me to lead assemblies once a half term to the pupils in my house. I decided to give some responsibility to the pupil heads of house who are in Year 11 to lead some of the assembly. They were great and think they enjoyed the experience. I ended the assembly with some information on Mindset. This is a set of beliefs or a way of thinking. When I read ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck, it got me thinking about the children I teach at school and where they fit in. Dweck talks about two different types of mindset. One of these is fixed and one of these is growth.

Below you can see the traits that come with each one.

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So people who have a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence, their basic abilities, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that. They then try to look smart and don’t like to look ‘dumb’.  In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. The don’t believe that everyone is the same but that people can adapt and improve by working hard.

Fixed mindset people tend to avoid challenges, give up easily, see effort as fruitless, ignore useful criticism and are threatened by the success of others. Whereas growth mindset people tend to embrace challenges, show persistence in the face of setbacks, see effort as essential to anything, learn from criticism and find lessons in inspiration and the success of others. I believe I have a growth mindset. Ever since I have been a child, I have always wanted to improve and better myself and do what I need to succeed. As I have become older, I feel this has only gotten stronger. Now, as a teacher, I want to be the best teacher I can. Not for my benefit, but because I want to inspire the pupils to believe that they can achieve, no matter how much they put themselves down.

When I shared these views in assembly, I wanted to get the children to consider where they fell. That if they believed they had a fixed mindset, then it can be changed or developed. All it takes is time and self belief. They need to start believing they can do it, that the voices telling them they can’t are a reflection of their choice. It is surprising how many children lack the confidence they need. Even this week I chatted to a pupil and a parent about having more belief. Belief that just because she isn’t as experienced as other members in the group, she can still achieve the same grade if she works hard. It is now my mission to ensure the pupils consider how their mind works. That by changing their mindset, they could potentially change their life. Making decisions now, can have a big impact over the next few years. Maybe it is time we included some basic Psychology in PSHE lessons to raise self esteem. Could have a very positive impact.

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My last question for yours…..Where do you fall? Which one are you? Remember, failure doesn’t mean you haven’t achieved, it just means you have to try harder. The only failure is giving up. Think outside the box. If you always do what you have always done, then you’ll always get the same outcome.

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